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Is hardware failure a necessary by-product of high-efficiency?

In a recent presentation at Data Center Dynamics, Chris Yetman talked about the keys to achieving very low PUEs. (If you missed it, you can check out the presentation here: http://slidesha.re/1su5cJv)

One of Chris’ points was that running in the ASHRAE allowed range rather than the ASHRAE recommended range can lead to significant cost savings. He provided an example where a company could save $500,000 per month through such a change! He pointed out that there will be some cost associated with operating in this regime, primarily in a slightly higher rate of hardware failure. His point was that the cost of this incremental hardware will be much less than the money saved through higher efficiency.

It’s an interesting point, and one that may be counter intuitive for many of us who are used to thinking about running data centers to achieve optimal conditions for hardware longevity. What are your thoughts?